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Regional News of Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Source: Stephen Armah, Contributor

Fish farmers urged to create the rightful niche for right customers


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The global Pandemic has slowed down the economic activities of the world. To this effect, many sectors are struggling to sustain the pandemic which has collapsed several organizations leading to a high rate of unemployment across the globe.

To sustain the aquaculture industry in Ghana, fish farmers have been encouraged to create the right niche in order to acquire the right customers to purchase their products. This was revealed during a webinar meeting organized by the Chamber of Aquaculture Ghana with the theme: ‘Sustainability Strategy for Farmers with Mature Fish Amid Covid-19’.

At the meeting, Mr. Emmanuel Ofosu from Aller Aqua Ghana Limited stated that for farmers to sustain their production in this pandemic era, there should be a rightful avenue for farmers to sell their products. He mentioned that there is a high cost of producing matured fish and as a result the fishes should be priced based on the weight not by observation.

“The way we sell our fish is a big problem and whether there is Covid or no Covid we will never be able to make it. Fingerlings, feed are bought on weight and fuel is bought base on volume, after harvest then clients come and purchase the fish based on the size by observation”, he lamented.

Jacque Magnee of Raanan Fish Feed advised the farmers to develop a niche market for their matured fish as this will help in reducing their losses and make fish farming profitable. He called on all the fish farmers not to get panic at this moment and should not drop their prices.

To sustain the fishes in the ponds with quality feeds, Cycle Farms Ghana, one of the stakeholders at the meeting reiterated that their new brand of “Eco Feed Conservation ” purposely produced to support farms with matured fish during and post Covid-19 comes with all nutritional values and benefits that a fish requires and it is available on the market to help fish Farmers manage their matured fishes.

One aspect of sustaining mature fish is the proper handling of fish. According to William Hunt from Ridgeway Biologicals, over handling of the fish causes injuries to the fish which breeds pathogens to the fish ponds.

He mentioned that certain areas of the lake or ponds have higher bacteria therefore when the fish get damaged it will affect other healthy ones. He entreated the farmers to try to minimize the handling of fishes in the production process. When this strategy is observed, surely, there would be sustainability for the matured fish in and after the Covid-19.

To maintain and promote clientele based Peter Adzikah of Golden Tilapia Farmers and Nestor Gbevlo-Lartey of Akuafo Market recommended that farmers should gradually adopt e-commerce in marketing their matured fish during and post covid-19.

Another critical strategy that was discussed at the meeting is fish processing. According to Wisdom Abodakpi of Cycle Farms Ghana, one important way that fish farmers can do to mitigate the cost and sustain their business is fish processing. He noted that although farmers do store their produce in refrigerators, smoking the fish is the cheapest way to process and add value to the fresh fish.

Dr. Etornyo Agbeko of CSIR-WRI urged farmers to resort to maintenance ration by doing less feeding and allow the fishes to depend on the natural food in their ecosystem.

The meeting brought together a number of value chain players which include Fish Feed Producers, Farmers, a representative from the Fisheries Commission, a representative from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Water Resource Institute, Fish Health Experts, and the like.

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